Resurgence: A RWBY Fic

By Kraven Ergeist

The strongest are those who can get back up with the bitter taste of defeat still fresh in their mouths. Ruby and her new team are trying to save as many as they can while they wait for Cinder's next move. But Cinder has a new weapon in store for the huntsmen in training. And this weapon wears a familiar face...

Spoilers for Season 3. Jaune x Pyrrha, Ren x Nora, Blake x Yang, and Jaune x Ruby by the end (you've been warned).

Chapter 1

Everything was gone.

The village had been reduced to embers. Piles of smoldering ash lay where huts and hovels had once been. It had not been a very large village, but still the smoke from the destruction had risen to blacken the sky all the same. The fires had spread to the fields and grasslands surrounding the unfortunate farming village, and now the ash blanketed the hills and valleys, the colorless gray stretching out as far as the eye could see across the horizon of Mistral.

Lie Ren crouched down and pulled up a handful of ash, bringing it to his nostrils to survey its scent. There were still traces of fresh wood smoke, which confirmed his suspicions. He had seen attacks like these before – they were all too common where he and Nora were from. Had it been raiders or looters or pirates or any of the usual brigands, there would have been vultures circling overhead, or rats pillaging for carrion. Not after an attack like this, however. Anyone not fortunate enough to escape had been wiped out. Completely. There were no carrion eaters because there was no carrion left to eat.

That was how the Grimm worked. They devoured their prey. Utterly.

"This is so horrible…" A tired voice broke the ghastly silence.

Ren looked up and saw Nora leaning against her hammer, planted pommel first into the scorched earth as she surveyed their surroundings.

"This damage is recent," Ren reported, dispassionately, getting to his feet. "This attack happened less than a day ago. Probably during the night."

Ren expected Nora to say something else, but she simply clutched Magnild's handle a little more tightly, her lips pursed in a grim visage.

He drew in a breath, mentally preparing himself to say something to comfort the young woman, but everything he could think of in his head sounded hollow upon reflection, and he knew that as soon as he gave them voice, it would ring empty.

Fortunately, their friend and de-facto leader Ruby stepped in to relieve him of any such concern.

"This is the third Grimm attack this week," the young redhead spoke out as she approached them, a look of despair in her eyes.

Having just swept the area, nothing she had seen had given her any indication that there were any survivors to be found. With a sigh of resignation, she opened up her scroll to verify their previous findings. It was a vein effort – she had them committed to memory at this point.

The victory at Beacon had been a marginal one – the Grimm now roamed the countryside in such numbers they simply could not combat them all. Ever since the trail to hunt down Cinder had gone cold, every Huntress and huntsmen, regardless of their level of training, had been called upon to stave off the emerging threat of the Grimm. With the CCTS down, communications had been knocked back to the stone age. Carrier pigeons and couriers were quickly becoming the quickest means of communication. Still, the difficulty in responding quickly to emergencies had been almost insurmountable. Ruby and the others had not wanted to give up the search they had travelled so far to see through. But as luck would have it, Mistral had need of their aid just as much as Vale, and so the team of young huntsmen remained here, fighting however they could, and biding their time.

"Probably not the last one too," Ren nodded in agreement, looking around at the flaming timbers that had once been carts and wagons and other primitive means of transportation that had been fruitlessly employed to flee. "Not everyone can just pick up and move their lives away at a moment's notice."

"And the kingdoms are being flooded with refugees as it is," Nora pursed her lips. "Atlas, Mistral, Vacuo…there just aren't enough Huntsmen to protect them all."

Ruby put away her scroll and gave her teammate a hopeful smile. "Don't worry Nora! We're doing everything we can to keep them safe!"

Nora nodded appreciatively. "I know, Ruby…I just hate showing up after the damage has already been done."

"Yeah…" Ruby hung her head, echoing her sentiments.

This journey had been taking its toll on all of them. Some more than others.

"Hey…where's Jaune?" Ren said when it suddenly occurred to him that it had been a while since he'd seen his former team leader.

"Standing guard," Ruby absently kicked a pebble, knowing that it was there mission to push on but reluctant to do so.

"Again?" Nora asked, a tone of concern in her voice.

"Yeah…" Ruby sighed, nodding at Nora's unspoken implication. "I think it gives him time to think…"

"About her?" Nora gave voice to her fears.

Ruby nodded.

"He's been getting pretty distant lately," Ren observed. "He agreed to step down as our leader a little too quickly if you ask me."

Ruby wrinkled her nose. They'd already had this conversation several times before.

"Well…he feels responsible," she said bluntly, frustration in her voice. "I can't blame him – I'd feel responsible too if that happened to someone on my team. I mean…I feel bad enough letting Yang…get hurt…and letting Blake and Weiss drift apart like they did…"

Ruby felt tears welling up in her eyes, and the other two huntsmen stiffened in response. But Ruby quickly dried her eyes, putting on a brave face. She couldn't let her team see her getting so choked up. She had to be strong.

For Yang. For Penny. For Pyrrha.

"Come on," she said brusquely, brushing her hands on her combat skirt and taking a deep, cleansing breath. "We might just have better luck at the next village. No way to know unless we try, right?"

Nora and Ren both nodded, though it was clear that it took both of them an effort to keep their spirits up.

"Right," Nora chimed in. "I'll go get Jaune."

Ruby shook her head. "No, I'll get him. I know where he is. Meet me at the village entrance."

Ruby set off before the others could offer any protest. There had been no reason they couldn't all move as a group, of course. Except that Ren was right – Jaune was getting more distant lately, and Ruby wanted to speak with him in private. He somehow always seemed to keep rather upbeat on the surface, and that's exactly what bothered her. It may have been the better part of a year since it'd happened, but in that whole time, she hadn't seen him truly mourn the loss of his team mate, his partner. Not even once.

Ruby had a sinking feeling that this veneer of good cheer was merely a front. Ren had hinted at the true pain lingering beneath it all – that after the disaster at Beacon, he not only blamed himself for what happened to Pyrrha, but that blame had cast doubt on his own leadership ability. Ruby didn't mind taking the reigns, but not at the expense of her teammate's feeling of self worth. She was determined to help him come back from this, however she could. She hadn't given up on Team RWBY, but so long as she was in charge of Team RNJR, it was her job to ensure the well being of the huntsmen and Huntresses on it.

Whether they could admit that they needed it or not.